Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

How to Smoke Your Cheese: The Art of Cold Smoking

Delving into the smokey arts with any degree of abandon, sooner or later you’re likely going to find yourself with a 20130723_180544_edit0sincere desire to smoke something peculiar.  Oh its starts innocently enough with the usual gamut of savory meats. But before you know it, and if you’re not careful, you may catch yourself trying to smoke such oddities as vegetables, fruits, and even nuts. And in the back of your mind, where brain thrusts often copulate, you no doubt will have the curious yet lingering urge to set smoke to your favorite block of cheese. No worries. Such thoughts are common place among the brotherhood of the pit, and not soon to be ashamed of. Indeed, fret not, for this is the pleasurable bane of many a pit keeper, of whom’s patron plumes of mesquite and smoldering apple are not just for meat alone, but a bevy of nourishment to that which benefits from the aromas abiding in the  soft, tendrils of rising wood smoke. But then you ask yourself, because you’re a learned mind, how might I smoke thy cheese and not melt it all to copious goo? Good question. And luckily, it’s all been figured out for you. Its called cold smoking.  And here is how you do it.

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Cold smoking is not what you see nervous blokes on their lunch breaks doing, out the office back door on blustery, winter afternoons. No, cold smoking is more fun than that. It’s the rather unique condition in the BBQ experience where wood smoke fairly bellows from your cooker, but if you were to lay your finger to it, it would be quite cool to the touch. Because it is. Cold smoking done proper, you see, does not exceed 90 degrees, and sometimes, it’s even less than that. Most cheese begins to sweat at around 95 degrees, so if you can keep the heat lower than that, you will be doing well for yourself. The winter months are clearly then the prized slots on the calendar year. How one gets good smoke without the heat is often times accomplished by building a very little fire in your smoker, like 3 or 4 briquettes, and setting some wood chips on it to smoke. It can be a fickle experience,  hard to regulate, and fleeting perhaps, but cold smoke can in fact be had. Or you could spend hundreds of dollars on some apparatus designed for the legion of pellet grills out there. Or, if you are a tinkerer, by golly, you could make a cold smoker out of various odds and ends laying about the homestead. We were not much in the mood to screw around, however, and just used our A-MAZE-N cold smoke generator instead, generously filled with their own pit master proprietary pellets. Simply light one corner of the little contraption, and the pellets burn like a fuse, following the maze as it goes. And a cold and wondrous smoke bellows forth.

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In the big Weber Smokey Mountain, deep in the recesses of its enormous fire bowl, we placed the lit smoke generator, paying keen attention that it was receiving adequate airflow there. It puffed away contentedly, like an old steamship sidling out to sea.  We then put a block of medium cheddar on the top grate, gently placed the lid on, and settled in for a wee bit of smoke watching. Cold or not, watching smoke curl is something that comes disturbingly easy to a patron of the pit. We are at once smitten for the ambiance. Drawing a lovely beverage, and taking up residence in the BBQ chair, legs crossed like a gentleman of leisure. Glory be, but this the speed of life worth living! Clouds aloft like soft, white, pillow innards, drifting across a beautiful, blue sky, whilst a woodsy, aromatic smoke idles up out of the cold, enameled pit.  The green leaves of the Cottonwood trees murmur in the soft wind, kissed by golden sunbeams cast from on high. And of course, the token family of Canadian geese which milled about on the lawn, like geese do, pecking through the steely, green blades there. They seemed equally as content as I, with the high rigors of cold smoking a hunk of cheese. Maybe even more so, in point of fact. And we both went about our business there, engaging the day, whilst the smoke gently curled.

After a couple of hours, all of which were sufficient for my pit-side loitering, I closed up the outdoor kitchen for the day. Bidding a farewell to the geese which still loitered in the cool grass. As I motioned inside the house, a pleasant aroma of lightly smoked cheese tarried with me. I swaddled the block in plastic wrap. Smoked cheese benefits from a long rest in the fridge, they say,  sealed in plastic. Giving it time to do what ever it is cheese does after encountering smoke. That might be so, but let it be said, it also tasted mighty fine later that night, sliced, and in the good company of a few of your favorite crackers. Amen.

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So next time you’re looking for a something different off the grill, or a good holiday treat, try cold smoking yourself up a block of your favorite cheese. The company of geese recommended, but optional.

*Here are a couple of amazon links for the two products we used today. The Weber Smokey Mountain, and the Amazen pellet smoker. Both top notch equipage that we’re proud to endorse. We are an amazon affiliate for these products, so if you purchase either, it helps fund this site a little. Thank you very much for your continued support! 

Weber 731001 Smokey Mountain Cooker 22-Inch Charcoal Smoker, Black

A-MAZE-N Amazen Pellet Smoker with Pitmasters Choice Pellets, 5″ L x 8″ W

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28 responses

  1. Reblogged this on JeanClaudePitre.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:46 am

  2. debbeedoodles

    So interesting. Never crossed my mind that we could make our own smoked mozzarella! Thanks for the enlightenment!

    July 31, 2013 at 10:49 am

    • Your welcome Debbeedoodles!
      Yes, all things are possible that which includes cheese!

      July 31, 2013 at 10:51 am

  3. amazing, gotta try that

    July 31, 2013 at 11:50 am

    • Yeah, its pretty neat. We have a review on the smoke generator used here coming out shortly. They are made by yet another local Minnesotan.

      Take care down there!

      -POTP

      July 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm

  4. Pretty impressive my friend. This skill may be a bit more than my experience level allows. However, without inspiration, what would we aspire to be. Thanks for the great information and enjoyable read!

    July 31, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    • Thanks Duncan. You’re deep!

      Its really as easy as lighting a pile of coals. Piece of cake! Or should I say cheese.

      July 31, 2013 at 2:17 pm

  5. Awesome! Now I’m starving. I love smoked cheese. I don’t know why I haven’t tried it yet myself. Thanks guys! keep up the good work

    July 31, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  6. Liz

    impressive! Same thing for smoked chocolate? How about satl? I have a sudden hankering for smoked cheese–your photo of the cheese wedge made me drool. Did the cheese taste even better after aging? (or didn’t it last long enough to age?) What a fascinating process.

    July 31, 2013 at 10:32 pm

    • Yup, same thing for chocolate I believe, tho I’ve never tried that yet. I’ve read of folks who have done chocolate tho, and they liked it.

      Well my taste buds are not educated I guess to the ways of ageing cheese, for I thought it tasted good whether it aged or not. But that’s what I’ve heard to do with your freshly smoked cheese, so I did.

      You’ll have to try it some day, and let us know how it turned out.

      Thanks as always Liz!

      August 1, 2013 at 9:38 am

  7. Been trying to figure out how to safely and successfully cold-smoke at home w/out one of those contraption thingies… so basically you just suggest small piles of charcoal/other to light? Now what if you want the smoke to last for long periods of time?

    July 31, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    • Yeah the basic goal is to get your pit temperature lower than 90 degrees, which granted, is a puzzle and a half when its a 100 degrees outside. But if you wait till the colder months, and then build the wee littlest fire in your pit, and toss on some wood chips, you’ll probably get it. Now making it last for long periods, that’s another story. That’s what the contraptions are all about. We just put out a review today actually, on these gadgets, awhich are made by a fellow here in Minnesota. They really work, and can burn for hours and hours on end. For 40 bucks, your problems are solved. Its an option anyways.

      Take care!

      August 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

  8. I’m a big fan of smoked cheese. You can get a smoked soft white cheese everywhere here in Denmark called Rygost but I do love smoked cheddar.

    August 1, 2013 at 9:24 am

    • Very cool. You should try smoking your own if you haven’t. Kind of fun.

      Thanks for the comment!

      -POTP

      August 1, 2013 at 9:32 am

  9. we love cheese, and the idea of smoking it sounds wonderful.

    August 1, 2013 at 4:12 pm

  10. Hope to try this once winter rolls in.

    August 3, 2013 at 10:18 pm

  11. I’ve never heard of cold smoking before, have eaten smoked cheese but honestly never thought about how they got it to taste that way, now I know. Very cool and not too hard if you get those little pellets.

    August 6, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    • Yup. The gadget we have you can use saw dust in it also. But the pellets are only a few dollars for a bag, so, it’s all good. And pretty fun. You can cold smoke salmon too, and I once read of someone cold smoking their chocolate. Which I suspect might be taking it too far. Its no small matter messing with one’s chocolate.

      August 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm

  12. A lot of people don’t see the amazing things you can do on a grill or Weber. It can be used for so much more than burgers and hot dogs. Thanks for the tips would love to try this!

    August 14, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    • Indeed. We have come to the conclusion that anything you can do on your stove top or oven, you can also do on the grill. Plus more.

      If your looking for a little cold smoking gadget, these generators from A-maze-n products are about the best bang for the buck it seems. They really work.

      http://www.amazenproducts.com/Default.asp

      Grill on!
      -POTP

      August 14, 2013 at 2:08 pm

  13. will have to try it soon!

    June 25, 2014 at 2:27 am

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